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Coordinators

Meet our team on Whitebait Connection coordinators around the country!

Kim Jones
MTSCT Co-Director/Poutokomanawa - Freshwater Lead
KJ_HS.jpg

Kia ora koutou! I am the Co-Director/Poutokomanawa - Freshwatre Lead of the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust. I've been involved in environmental education since 2003 and my favourite part of the job is being out in the environment - natures classroom! I'm also an experienced coordinator of WBC's sister programme, Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR), and founder of the Whangarei Drains To Harbour stormwater awareness campaign and Mangrove Discovery Programme. I am a graduate of Environmental Management, Conservation, Business Administration and Computing and was lucky enough to study in Northland where I lived and worked with my husband Blair and kids Zayne and Oceana, until 2014 when we moved to Warkworth, Auckland by the Mahurangi River for four years.  We moved back to Whangarei in 2018 and are now working at a regional level in both Northland and Auckland as well as supporting the national delivery and growth.  

Kim is an experienced coordinator and project manager of all the Trust's programmes and has 16 years of experience in this field now working at a regional level in both Northland and Auckland as well as supporting national delivery and growth of the programmes throughout Aotearoa. She works for collaborative integrated catchment management within a holistic 'Mountains to Sea' view and has driven the development of the Trust's National Īnanga Spawning Programme. Kim is the Project Manager for the Northland Īnanga Spawning Habitat Restoration project and will use her 8 years of experience driving this work in Northland and Auckland to support the operational team to scale up this important mahi and increase the capacity and capability of many stakeholders to engage and lead this work into the future.

Phone: (09) 434 0289 or 027 243 4818
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Patricia Clark
National Coordinator 

Kia ora, my name is Patricia and I joined the WBC team in May 2021. I whakapapa to Ngāpuhi and grew up on a farm near my hometown of Kaikohe. I now live in Mangawhai. Through my upbringing I have always been interested in all things related to freshwater. I have a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Earth Science, and a Masters degree in Environmental Science focussed on freshwater ecology. I love being part of the WBC team as it combines my passions for freshwater ecology, education and hands on conservation.

Phone: 027 325 2054
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Andrea Booth
Northland Regional Coordinator 

Kia ora, I'm Andrea and I joined the Mountains to Sea team in July 2023, based in Whangarei. I have an MSc in Ecology, and I've been working in conservation for all of my career. I started off as a technical advisor in DOC supporting threatened species projects, in particular terrestrial invertebrates, birds and fish. I then moved into management in DOC, first as the Whangarei Operations Manager, then as the Improvement Manager, where I focused on systems improvement. More recently, I have been working for Reconnecting Northland, an NGO based in Whangarei, where I supported communities to plan and deliver their taiao goals. I love working with communities and helping them to achieve their aspirations, and I am very excited to be in this role and to be working with this awesome team.

Phone: 027 704 5728
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Nicholas Naysmith
Northland Inanga Spawning Habitat Restoration Project (NISHRP) Manager 

Kia ora, my name is Nic and I joined WBC as a coordinator for Whangarei in May 2021. I gained a Master of Science degree in Marine Biology from Otago University in the late 90s and later trained as an Osteopath. My passions have always been in understanding the natural sciences and exploring my local forests, rivers, and coastlines.
After almost a decade in corporate sales I decided that it was time to pursue my passions and to give back to the places I love. So, I am super excited to join the WBC team, get hands on, and be a part of educating the next generation of scientists and conservationists.

Phone: 027 6419388
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Rosie Palmer
Northland Programme Coordinator

Kia ora, I'm excited to be part of the team since 2018. I am a registered teacher, as well as holding a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Zoology. I have a passion for sharing environmental knowledge outside of the classroom, where children can be engaged with the content in hands on learning. I have experience teaching children of all ages and have specialized in freshwater ecology and monitoring, wildlife protection and waste management in previous environmental educator roles.

Phone: 022 012 3027

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Jordan MacDonald
He Kākano Community Nursery Manager (Northland)

Kia ora I'm Jordie, nursery manager at He Kākano community nursery in Whangārei. I joined the WBC team in 2017 but have been involved with the MTSC trust as an EMR volunteer since 2015. I currently live in Pātaua north but grew up in the Marlborough region. I love the time I get to spend growing native plants for WBC projects with an awesome group of volunteers. Graduating from Victoria University in 2013 with a bachelor of science in marine conservation and ecology/biodiversity I was thrilled to work as a park ranger for Auckland council for two summers before moving to Whangārei and finding the amazing MTSCT team up here.

Phone: 027 354 8745
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Ray Downing
Northland Programme Coordinator

Kia ora, my name is Ray and I joined WBC in 2021 as a coordinator in Northland. I am also an Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) coordinator. I have a Grad Dip in Primary Teaching and a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies. I am a Northlander at heart and have a keen interest in freshwater and marine conservation and constantly amazed about how much we can learn from nature. Utilising my background in teaching I look forward to delivering the WBC programme to schools in the North and helping communities to be more connected to their natural environment.

Phone: 0273211295

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Tracey Phillip
Northland Programme Coordinator

Kia ora, my name is Tracey Phillip.I joined Whitebait Connection in April 2022 as a cadet helping part-time. I love the mahi so much that I am becoming a fully endorsed coordinator so I can get even more involved in helping restore our beautiful slice of heaven to its full glory. My life has been focused around the outdoors from farming life to working in adventure tourism with kids. I believe my life experience has given me some great tools to work in this industry from coordinating groups to hands on tasks making for a awesome role diversity cant wait to get rolling. I live in Whangarei but am northland born and bred and love raising my family here. I hope for a place they can be proud to call home.

Phone: 0278230299
 
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Alexandria Going
Northland Catchment Coordinator (Hokianga & Doubtless Bay)

Kia ora, my name is Alexandria and I joined the WBC team as a coordinator at the start of 2022. I grew up on my family's farm in Maromaku, Northland and completed a Bachelor of  Science in Biodiversity Management through Unitec Institute of Technology. Since then I gained experience in Freshwater Ecology and Quality while working in the Natural Resources Monitoring team at the Northland Regional Council for four years. I love being a part of the WBC team. Whether it's developing restoration plans, educating community groups or showing our tamariki Northlands aquatic biodiversity, this is some of the most rewarding work I have ever been involved in.

Phone: 021 226 7700

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Greer Morgan
Northland Programme Coordinator 

Kia ora koutou,

My name is Greer and I was born and raised in Whangārei, Northland. I was late to study as I spent my youth traveling, only to come home and realize the beauty Aotearoa holds. I completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Biodiversity Management in 2022 and have worked alongside Whitebait Connection throughout my studies. Their ongoing commitment and passion for the freshwater space are what excites me to be a part of their team coming into 2023. 

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Briar Broad
Auckland Regional Coordinator

Kia ora! I am a Programme Coordinator with the Auckland Whitebait Connection team, recently joining in 2021. I hold a Master of Science (Environmental Science – Freshwater Ecology) from the University of Auckland where I studied macroinvertebrate communities in riverine wetlands. I am extremely passionate about the importance of children connecting with nature, which led me to establish a nature-based programme in Playcentre and also work as a Nature Educator with school aged children. I am excited to now be part of the WBC team and strongly believe that hands-on experience in nature is the key to inspiring and engaging our tamariki to become Kaitiaki of the beautiful environment they live in.

Phone: 021 062 0674

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Sophie Tweedle
Auckland Programme Coordinator 

Kia ora! My name is Sophie. I studied and worked in terrestrial ecology in the UK before moving to New Zealand in 2008. When I moved to New Zealand, I found my passion for freshwater ecology and have worked for local government and NGOs helping to establish water quality monitoring programmes and study stream life ever since. I have previously been a WBC Programme and Auckland Regional Coordinator,  and am now an Ambassador for Whitebait Connection, promoting the programme where I can.


Sophie Journee
North Auckland Programme Coordinator

Kia ora my name is Sophie, I started volunteering and assisting for WBC in April 2017 and have just begun as a lead coordinator based in Auckland. I studied biological science at the University of Auckland, which inspired me to pursue a career in ecological conservation. I am involved in many conservation projects around Auckland and am extremely passionate about protecting the Hauraki Gulf’s marine life. I am a qualified snorkel instructor and rescue diver and love helping kids gain confidence in the water. 

Phone: 021 064 5125
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Sarah Dimitrijevic
North Auckland Programme Coordinator

My name is Sarah and I am a member of the Auckland team with WBC.  I hold a BSc hons in Environmental science and after an extended OE recently returned to uni to complete a PgDipSci in Marine Science with the University of Auckland. I have travelled extensively and have been lucky enough to work as a SCUBA instructor, marine biology guide and TEFL educator worldwide. I am proud to be part of WBC and really like the way hands on education can mobilise people to value their environment.

Phone: 02102986880
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Aileen Sweeney
Auckland Programme Coordinator

Kia ora! I am a new programme coordinator working within the Auckland team having just joined in March 2022. I hold a BSc (Hons) Degree in Zoology from back home in Ireland, and I submitted my PhD in Ecology at the University of Auckland last year. I have called Aotearoa home for almost 6 years now and I love it here. My interests in ecology and conservation have always been very broad; I have previously worked for primate conservation projects in Southern Africa and, more recently, I focused on bird behaviour for my doctoral research. I am passionate about conservation science outreach and communication, and I adore working with kids. They are this planet’s future, and I believe helping to nurture their interest in the environment early on is crucial. I feel very privileged to now be involved in freshwater education and conservation as this is such a highly relevant area.

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Phone: 02041228742


Anastasia Zaleta
Auckland Programme Coordinator 

Zdravim vas, welcome! I am Anastasia, a Programme Coordinator in the Tāmaki Makaurau region. I hold a Bachelor, PG Diploma and now a Master of Science, in which I studied microplastic and rubbish pollution in urban streams. I had the privilege to spend much of my life outdoors all over Aotearoa, and my Slovak heritage has played an important role in shaping my values and connection to nature. My primary aim is to share the WBC programme with my community and environment in a way that honours emotional affinity. Now based in Maungawhau Mount Eden, I have the opportunity to learn more about our rohe and contribute to its well-being. When I wade a stream, I’m always curious to discover what’s behind the next bend…

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Murray Palmer 
Gisborne WBC Ambassador

Murray has been a WBC coordinator since 2005 and ran the delivery of these programmes via his company, Te Mahi a Taiao Limited. He also managed the delivery of WBC's sister programme EMR in Gisborne, and has had many other partnerships and workstreams over the years.
Murray also set up and established a charitable trust called "He Awa Ora, He Tai Ora, Healthy Rivers, Living Sea Education Trust". He is Chairperson for the trust and formed this incorporated entity to deliver both the WBC and EMR programmes to facilitate and provide wider community involvement with broader funding opportunities and scope for the programmes.

Phone: 021 177 1926

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Amy Hardy
Gisborne Regional Manager

Amy has completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration with a double major in marketing and management. She has a background in business but holds a strong passion for working alongside children. Amy is Secretary and Treasurer of the charitable trust  "He Awa Ora, He Tai Ora, Healthy Rivers, Living Sea Education Trust" which the WBC programme is run through in Gisborne. Amy began working part-time in 2012 and is now the full-time manager and tutor of the WBC and EMR programmes.
This work enables Amy to grow her passion and commitment for educating children and the wider community about environmental conservation and engaging individuals towards sustainable development.

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Website: www.nmtt.co.nz


Hana Hardy
Gisborne Programme Coordinator 

Since I began environmental and business communication studies in 2020, I rediscovered a passion for earning about and protecting our natural environment. In 2022 I became a full time employee with the HeAwa Ora, He  Tai Ora, Healthy Rivers, Living Sea Education Trust and have been working toward becoming a fully endorsed coordinator for the EMR and WBC programmes within the Gisborne region. I am passionate about cultural communication, protecting the environment and working with children of all ages. Working under the Mountains To Sea Conservation Trust in Gisborne allows the above passions to be fulfilled in a fun, interesting and diverse environment.

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Websitewww.nmtt.co.nz


Zoe Studd
Wellington Programme Director/Coordinator

Kia ora. I have been involved with the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust's work since 8 years. Ex-dive instructor (Kaikoura and Samoa), gained my marine and coastal science degree from Australia, then worked in environmental policy for several years in NZ and the US. I became involved in EMR whilst retraining as a teacher and coordinated in Wellington for a couple of years before going full time in the classroom. Missed it too much, so came back onboard in 2014 and took on delivery of the Whitebait Connection as well.  I now manage the team in Wellington and, with the team, have created a wide range of services and connections within our community.

Phone: 021 707 881
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Liz Gibson
Wellington Regional Programme Coordinator

Kia ora my name is Liz, 2015 was my first year as a WBC coordinator based in Wellington.  I am completing my Masters in Marine Conservation and a BSC in Zoology. My other passion is music.

Phone: 0220378460
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Sarah Kachwella (Nee Neighbours) 
Wellington Programme Coordinator (currently on maternity leave) 

I am very excited to be working as a Whitebait Connection Coordinator with the Mountains to Sea Wellington team. I have had a passion for the outdoors from a young age and decided to become a Marine Biologist when I was 8 years old. I have a Masters in Marine Conservation and love being able to pass on my knowledge and enthusiasm to students, teachers, parents and the general public. In my spare time I enjoy being outdoors, especially being involved in marine and freshwater related activities.

Phone: 027 258 2925
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Jorge Jimenez-Senen
Wellington Programme Coordinator

Jorge is an ocean enthusiast that loves being in the water. He has been interested in the marine environment since a young age. Borned in Madrid, Spain, he would have to drive at least 3 hours to get to the nearest beach. After completing his BSc in Biotechnology, he decided to leave Europe and explore more in depth the oceans of the world. He volunteered for 5 months in a turtle conservation, rehabilitation and education centre in Indonesia. During the volunteering, he discovered his passion of marine conservation education, teaching students and tourist the effects of human activity in our marine environments and how to mitigate these effects. After completing the volunteer, Jorge decided to study a MSc in Marine Conservation at Victoria University of Wellington. During his master degree, he would volunteer with the Wellington team taking the school kids snorkelling around the Taputeranga marine reserve. This is how he got involved with the team, the EMR program and the trust.  Then in 2018 he trained to become a Whitebait Connection programme coordinator for Wellington.

Phone: 0211238961
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Veronica Mohan (aka Roni)
Wellington Programme Coordinator 

Howdy! My name is Veronica, but I sometimes go by Roni, and I am a Whitebait Connection Coordinator in Wellington. I moved from Texas to Wellington in 2018 to study marine conservation. During my studies, I volunteered for Mountains to Sea Wellington as a snorkel guide but quickly found myself volunteering for the freshwater field trips, too. I began working for Mountains to Sea Wellington in the spring of 2019. Joining the team allows me to explore my passion for teaching and connecting children to nature. I have also had the opportunity to assist in developing freshwater monitoring training for citizen scientists. My goals are to become an effective science communicator to all age groups.

Phone: 027 211 4864
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Joe Warmington
Wellington Programme Coordinator 

Kia ora koutou! Ko Joe toku ingoa. Hailing from the rain-soaked hills of South Wales, I first fell in love with the freshwater environment as a young boy. Surprisingly not in Wales’ chilly waters, but in the United States, when I nearly drowned hunting for Koura in the streams of Northern Virginia. A particularly large crawdaddy grabbed me by the ankle and with that first nip, and whilst choking on a lungful of brackish water, a lifelong love affair began. Now an eel wrestling professional with the Mountains to Sea Wellington team, I live for forging those same connections that I feel between our tamariki and their local waterways. Providing these opportunities for experiential education to students and community members who may have never had the chance otherwise means everything. Most of all seeing the way the kids light up and the fortitude they display in wanting to make a difference to the world around them never ceases to warm the cockels of my slightly damp Welsh heart. 

Phone: 02102939747

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Maddy Glover
Wairarapa Catchment Restoration and Science Coordinator 

Kia ora koutou katoa! I’m the Mountains to Sea Wellington Catchment Restoration and Science Coordinator for the Wairarapa. In Aotearoa we have a pretty special taiao and I was lucky enough to grow up spending a lot of time outdoors. This led me to study a Masters of Marine Science which further fostered my love for the outdoors and enthusiasm to help others become kaitiaki of their own wai. I am excited to help empower communities to engage with their awa and protect them for future generations. 

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Alice Jenkins
Wellington Programme Coordinator 

Kia ora, my name is Alice! I joined the Mountains to Sea Wellington team as a Whitebait Connection Coordinator in July 2023. My passion for all things freshwater first began when I did a research project in my hometown about the Wairarapa Moana. I now hold a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Biodiversity and Environmental Science, and a Masters degree in Environmental Science with a strong focus on freshwater ecology. My favourite part about being in the WBC team is using hands on education to inspire people to protect their freshwater environments.

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Abbey Huriwai 
Wellington Catchment Coordinator (Wai Connection)

Kia ora, I'm Abbey! 

I am a Catchment Coordinator for Te Whanagnui-a-Tara, Porirua and Te Awa Kairangi. I have always loved being outdoors and feel a strong connection and passion for the protection of our wai and whenua. I completed my Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Ecology and Biodiversity last year and have recently joined the Mountains to Sea Wellington team in July 2023. I'm most excited to help people build connections with te taiao!

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Jude Heath
Nelson/Tasman RegionalcCoordinator 

I have always loved freshwater and sea water and you will always find me near it, in it or under it. Since 1990 I have white water rafted, kayaked my waka, snorkeled and swum many rivers in Aotearoa and overseas for work, adrenalin and adventure.

My passion for Environmental Education was formed around eight years of age, as I remember standing with my hands on my hips, giving my dad grief about throwing his rubbish into the Graham Valley River. My first employment in Environmental Education was coordinating Conservation Corps at Whenua Iti Outdoor Pursuit Centre from 1992 – 1996. Students surveyed Whio ducks in Kahurangi National Park, planted natives at the Motueka Kumaras, removed old man’s beard and rubbish from rivers and low land native forests along the Motueka Awa.

From 2001 until 2006 I owned and operated a business called Motueka Inflatable River Kayaks, which ran eco adventure kayaks trips on the Motueka Awa.Then I worked for Northland Polytechnic as a Coordinating Environmental Tutor from 2006 -2008. Following this I headed back to the South Island to train as a Primary School Teacher finishing a bachelor in primary education  in 2011. My dream was to connect students and local community working together, as citizen scientists alongside professionals to monitor freshwater and marine waterways in their own backyard. I am currently trained in Whitebait Connection and Wai Connection Delivery plus as a Community Based Freshwater Monitoring trainer through the Mountain's to Sea's Conservation Trust.

I have a diploma in business management and I have previous experience managing a fashion clothing company called Kiwi Country clothing, managed a blueberry garden and a culinary herb business in the Motueka valley. My last position was principal of Motueka Technology Centre. I am the current Regional Coordinator and a founding member of Tasman Bay Guardians and my life passion is to help improve our waterways from the mountains to the sea.

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Mel McColgan
Nelson/Tasman/Te Tau Ihu Programme Coordinator

Mel has 13 years experience with  the delivery of WBC freshwater education in Nelson, Tasman & Marlborough with Schools, community groups and the general public. In 2006 Mel took over the Co-ordinator role with continued delivery under the banner ”Wai Māori Streamcare” a collaboration with local Iwi. Tangata Whenua acknowledged the need to ensure the science was received with cultural values and principles of kaitiakitanga entwined.

Mel brings her passion for all things water and a strong sense of reponsibility in working towards the safe-guarding of our natural freshwater resources for future generations.

Mel has qualifiations in conservation, having completed the DoC Trainee Ranger Programme, Environmental Science and Iwi Environmental Management (TWOA).  Mel has also gained solid qualifications in communications and te reo Māori Level 3. 

Mel acknowledges the support of brilliant mentors and WBC training/wananga over the years to develop her capability to grow and sustain the kaupapa in Te Tau Ihu. More recently Mel has taken on co-ordination and delivery of The Nelson :”Drains to Harbour” programme under Tasman Bay Guardians.

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Phone: 021 146 8654


Thalassa Kawachi
Nelson/Tasman Programme Coordinator

Growing up in Hawaii with a fisherman as a father and the sea on my doorstep primed me for a lifetime fascination and curiosity with the sea.  I started working on a marine research vessel in my high school years and after completing a Bachelor of Marine Biology at Humboldt State University I worked on the high seas as a scientific observer in Alaska, NZ, Mauritius, and Antarctica. The adventure continues as I now get to share my enthusiasm and love of the ocean through EMR.  A new passion for rivers has emerged through family adventures and a whitewater kayak enthusiast for a partner.  Whitebait connection and river/estuary monitoring through Tasman Bay Guardians is expanding my curiosity and knowledge around this freshwater space.

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Scott Keen
Nelson/Tasman Programme Coordinator 

Kia Ora, I'm Scott Keen. I'm very grateful to be aligned with the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust, the kaupapa and the amazing people that it attracts. Im a 5th generation Kiwi, with family ties to Scotland, England, Ireland, Canterbury, Taranaki, Wellington, Rotorua and now Motueka. With a love and appreciation of the nourishment the natural world gives to our mind, body and spirit.
 
An original founding member of Tasman Bay Guardians, Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) Coordinator and now a Whitebait Connection Coordinator. 14 years in Marlborough Aquaculture as a Technician, Diver and Skipper. 3 years at Northtec as a Tutor in the Environmental science Department and 5 years prior in Adventure tourism sea kayaking in the Abel Tasman national Park. Loving life and long may it continue.

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Kate Radloff
Nelson/Tasman Programme Coordinator 
 

Kia ora, my name is Kate Radloff. I’m originally from Wales where I completed a BA (Hons) Communication Studies (my dissertation looked at why people volunteer for the environment) and Post Graduate Certificate of Education. In 2002, I moved with my family to Aotearoa, New Zealand. Since then, I’ve been living (and studying) in the same small rural town near the Motueka River, where I have fallen in love with our indigenous terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity.
 
I am currently deputy chair of the Steering Group for our local Catchment Collective as well as chair for the Biodiversity and Restoration thematic group. I regularly engage with local farmers and school students to enhance our local biodiversity, whilst working to improve the health of the freshwater around us. Alongside my voluntary efforts, working as a Wai Connector is allowing me to combine my love for education and my passion for our environment. I am very grateful to be able to spend time with awesome people who really do care.
 
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Carolyn (Caz) Gray
Nelson/Tasman Programme Coordinator 
 

Kia ora!

I’m Caz and I started delivering the Whitebait Connection education programme to kura in the Tasman region in 2023.  As a kid I saved butter wrappers for the hoiho, “adopted” a Hector's dolphin and enjoyed the great outdoors with my family.  I studied geography at the University of Canterbury – learning about all sorts from the mountains to the sea.  After uni, I was lucky enough to work for DOC in some pretty special places – Fiordland and then Nelson Lakes National Park.  I took a few years out from paid employment to raise my own family, who have been introduced to the great outdoors in and around Tasman.  I’ve spent the last couple of years working for Playcentre Aotearoa, gaining a real understanding of how important it is for our tamariki to engage with our environment – they are the ones who will be the next kaitiaki of Te Tai-o-Aorere. 

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Kiara Duke
Nelson/Tasman Programme Coordinator 
 

Ko tōku reo nō te waka o Tokomaru, ko tōku ihi nō te maunga o Piripiri, ko tōku wehi nō te wai tuku kiko ō Waitohi.
Whakawhiti atu ki te moana o Raukawakawa, ki te moutere tapu o Arapaoa, ka rere ki uta, ka rere ki tai.

Ko Waikawa te marae o te whenua nei.

Ko Ngāti Te Whiti tōku hapū.

Ko Te Ātiawa tōku iwi.

No Waikawa ahau i te taha o tōku māmā.

Ko Kiara Duke-Love tōku ingoa.
Mauri ora! My name is Kiara, and I’m a new addition to the Whitebait Connection team in sunny Whakatū/ Nelson. During my time completing the DoC Kaitiaki Whenua/ Trainee Ranger program in 2021 I was inspired by the WBC freshwater education led by my whanauka Mel McColgan. I began volunteering with the Moutains to Sea team that same year, delivering the Experiencing Marine Reserves program as a collaboration with Tasman Bay Guardians and my iwi. Seeing our tamariki light up when they ID a green stonefly, or spot a wheke is why I love this mahi! My moemoea/ dream is to nurture kaitiakitanga in our rangatira mo āpōpō/ future leaders - to think deeply and dream big when it comes to the natural world they are inheriting.

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Shelley McMurtrie

Canterbury WBC Ambassador

Shelley was trained as a WBC coordinator in 2016 but has extensive experience in the aquatic fields of science and is a trusted advisor for the local and regional authorities on these matters. Shelley is a Director and the Principal Scientist at EOS Ecology; the umbrella organisation for WBC Canterbury. She loves to spend lots of time outside either wading in streams looking under rocks, tramping in our great outdoors, or photographing our amazing wildlife and landscapes.

Expertise
Shelley McMurtrie is an Aquatic Ecology Scientist with almost two decades of research and industry experience studying aquatic (freshwater and estuary) ecosystems, including fish and invertebrate communities. In addition to managing the EOS science team, her expertise has led to her involvement as the ecology lead in key waterway restoration programmes, leadership of long-term monitoring programmes and ecological investigations, and authorship and editing of key guiding documents for the restoration and management of urban waterways.

Committed not only to taking science into the world’s wild places but also to communicating science to the wider public, Shelley successfully coordinated the largest multidisiplinary expedition to our remote Campbell Island (www.campbellisland.org.nz) and the development of the first ever taxonomic identification keys for the island’s aquatic invertebrates (http://ciinvertkey.com/). More recently she has led the Whaka Inaka programme, she has also developed monitoring programmes for community groups and led the creation of a freshwater invertebrate identification chart suitable for use by community and schools.

Shelley’s enthusiasm combined with in-depth knowledge of freshwater ecosystems gets kids completely engaged with the wonderful world of our fresh waters.

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Kate Monteath
North Canterbury Regional Coordinator (Wai Connection)

Kia ora, ko Kate toku ingoa and I am new to the Whitebait Connection programme having started in August 2023. I love spending time in the outdoors, and getting into those wild, untouched places is an incredible feeling! I completed a degree in Ecology and Conservation at Lincoln University in 2016 before veering onto a different path by following up with a diploma in primary teaching. I spent 4.5 years teaching in the classroom before the call back to my passion for the natural environment became too loud to ignore. I loved connecting with tamariki in education, and I'm excited to be working with the Whitebait Connection programme and engaging in lots of experiential learning! 

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Courtney Bosse
Mid Canterbury Regional Coordinator (Wai Connection)

Kia ora, ko Courtney toku ingoa. I am new to the Whitebait Connection programme as of late August 2023. My mind and body thrive in the outdoors, I enjoy bringing people together and exposing them to new places or activities that showcase our beautiful country. All my previous roles have built on a continuous environmental skillset. In 2013 I completed a MSc in palaeolimnology (reconstructing past climate from lake sediment cores), followed by two laboratory roles, terrestrial restoration projects, state of the environment monitoring through two regional council roles (streams, habitat surveys, lakes, terrestrial, marine, and groundwater), which brings me to this new and exciting role. I look forward to learning, sharing my kete of knowledge, and encouraging and watching tamariki engage with this programme.

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Nick Hempston
Canterbury Programme Coordinator
Nick Hempston became a WBC coordinator in 2017 and brings over 10 years of practical field experience and a heap of knowledge about bugs. Nick gets outdoors at any chance he has - mountain biking, kayaking or skiing.

Expertise
For the past ten years, Nick has lead EOS Ecology’s field programmes and is extremely knowledgeable in taxonomic identification of invertebrate fauna. Nick’s previous experience teaching biology and shore ecology with school groups makes him well equipped to deliver WBC programmes. With Nick’s passion for invertebrate taxonomy and extensive experience identifying animals from freshwater, estuary and terrestrial environments, he is the perfect addition to the team and can answer almost any question thrown his way – it will be a challenge for the kids to try and stump him!

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Ciara Espiner
Canterbury Programme Coordinator   

From an early age, Ciara has had a strong connection with New Zealand’s natural history and the great outdoors. She channelled this passion into a BSc(Hons) in Biological Sciences and Ecology at the University of Canterbury, and graduated with First Class in 2021. Ciara then strengthened her understanding of the land she is lucky enough to call home by walking 3000km down the length of New Zealand, along Te Araroa Trail. 

In early 2022, Ciara joined the team at Christchurch’s EOS Ecology as a Freshwater Ecology Scientist, where she has developed her skills in invertebrate taxonomy, freshwater fieldwork, and delivering ecological programmes to school groups. She became a WBC coordinator in 2022, and is excited to see where this new role will take her.

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Oly Hall
Canterbury Programme Coordinator 

Oly is a Freshwater Ecology Scientist at EOS Ecology with over five years combined research and consulting experience in applied freshwater ecology and has recently joined Whitebait Connection as a coordinator in 2022. Oly is passionate and enthusiastic about conserving New Zealand’s freshwater environments and the rich biodiversity living within them. He also has a passion for freshwater invertebrates and their use as biological-monitoring tools for waterbodies, having completed his Masters thesis on the impact of urban-runoff on the macroinvertebrate communities of Lake Wanaka and Lake Wakatipu. Oly has also worked with a wide range of native fish species both in his studies (Otago University) and various roles around the country from Coastal Otago (DOC) to Northland’s dune lakes (NRC). Oly is extremely passionate about environmental education and is looking forward to engaging with local communities in this new role as a WBC coordinator.

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Emily Demchick
Canterbury Programme Coordinator

Emily is a Freshwater Ecology Scientist at EOS Ecology with over 9 years of research and consulting experience. In addition to coordinating the EOS field and laboratory teams, she brings with her a particular expertise in macroinvertebrate taxonomy as well as extensive freshwater fieldwork experience. Emily is excited by any opportunity to share our amazing native fish and freshwater invertebrates with budding young ecologists — an opportunity which joining the team in 2022 as a WBC coordinator is sure to provide!

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